No Minister

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with 12 comments

Jacinda Ardern has conceded that it creates two classes of New Zealanders … she actually parades the decision as some sort of ‘badge of courage’. Well sorry, I’m bailing out of her team of 5m (cough).

The vaccine mandate is a nonsense given the decision that it does not apply to supermarkets and the like. The close proximity argument is but a straw man. Yesterday self and memsahib did our weekly main order shop at the Kerikeri Countdown. In the aisles we brushed shoulders with any number of fellow shoppers. We had no way of telling their vaccination status and, under the vaccination mandate, we won’t either.

If the government is serious about the vaccine mandate then it needs to go the whole hog … have special shopping times for the un-vaccinated only. Alternatively they could be given a hi viz jacket to wear on entry to the building emblazoned with the words ‘I’m Not Vaccinated – Avoid Me’.

Just trying to be helpful.

This, along with the announcement that government is moving ahead with Three Waters and damn the torpedoes, is enough for me two break my two belts of Scotch evening ritual rule tonight.

Written by The Veteran

October 27, 2021 at 3:12 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

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with 20 comments

DPF over at Kiwiblog ran an interesting post asking readers to nominate an MP from the other side of the divide that they genuinely respected. I would be interested to see the response here. Suggest you refrain from the ‘none of them’ type comment. That’s not what I’m looking for. Heaven forbid that we get to the stage you see in US politics where the inter-tribal conflict is so toxic that cross party dialogue and respect is viewed as something akin to treason.

Anyway, to start the ball rolling I will nominate two Labour Party politicians. One long gone and the other still serving. Bearing ones soul. Very early on in my service career I was appointed as the military aide to Arthur Faulkner, Minister of Defence and one-time President of the Labour Party. I travelled extensively with him in SE Asia. He was an ex-fighter pilot in WW2 (I think he was the first to land an aircraft at Anzio, Italy, when the allied forces made their landing there). Faulkner was a mans man and genuinely cared about his portfolio and people. Told me he was totally bemused when he made his first visit to Waiouru as Minister. Asked the then Commandant what was needed to make Waiouru a better place. Expected to be told things like a decent gymnasium and swimming pool and improvements to defence housing. Was taken aback when the response was zip, zero, nothing. That the Army had it all under control. As it was and following a meeting within the business owners inhabiting the Waiouru shopping centre he authorised an extension to that facility. Huge opportunity missed … the gymnasim and pool came years later and only after much heartache. Was fascinated that he used me, as a junior officer, to bounce ideas off. I know the then CDF (Webb) was not amused. He told me so.

And the current MP … Damien O’Connor.

Written by The Veteran

October 27, 2021 at 11:15 am

Posted in NZ Politics


with 26 comments

I am not overly religious (sorta Agnostic Christian … perhaps) but I do respect people of faith and acknowledge the generally good work, mostly unsung, that churches of all denominations perform day in and day out.

For me freedom, and that includes religious freedom, is the hallmark of a free society. Indeed, Patrick Henry capitulated it perfectly when he said at the Second Virginia Convention held on 23 March 1775 ‘give me liberty of give me me death‘.

And so I find it abhorrent that our Prime Minister (once a Morman until she discovered whisky … her words) should now decree that under ‘her’ new traffic light system un-vaccinated people will be limited in their ability to attend church.

So huge creds to the Maori lady church minister who has stood up to say that she will not be a party to that dictate. That Maori culture does not permit the exclusion of people from society.

Perhaps, just perhaps, denominational heads too might collectively make a similar stand … although I’m not holding my breath. Cowered by our increasingly woke secular society. They might do well to reflect on those famous words from Lutheran Pastor Martin Neimoller …. First they came for the Socialists etc …….

Written by The Veteran

October 25, 2021 at 10:57 am


with 3 comments

Cabal (noun): 1. A secret intrigue. 2. A political clique or faction.

These are the two main definitions in my Oxford Dictionary. There’s a third, historical one which reveals that the word originated under King Charles II, who had a committee of five ministers whose surnames happened to begin with the letters C, A, B, A and L (who knew?).

But it’s the modern understanding of the word that I’m concerned with, because in many ways “cabal” seems an apt description of how New Zealand is being run in 2021.

Okay, cabal implies a small, secretive group, which is not what I’m talking about here. The cabal I’m talking about is neither small nor secretive. On the contrary, it’s big and far-reaching, with an agenda that’s very much out in the open. It’s a cabal so supremely confident about its power that it feels no need to be furtive.

In fact as I’m writing this I realise I’m effectively proposing a new definition of cabal. Mine would read something like “a group wielding power and influence disproportionate to its numbers, characterised by a common ideology and constantly reinforcing itself through mutual support”.

The cabal I’m talking about reaches across politics, the bureaucracy, academia, arts, the media, the churches and even sport and business. It dominates the public conversation to the extent that dissenting voices are largely excluded, at least from traditional mainstream platforms.

The common ideology that unites this cabal is not easily summarised, since it’s multi-faceted. Some would call it “woke” – an unsatisfactory term because (a) it’s too easily resorted to and has therefore been diminished by over-use and (b) its meaning is so diffuse that it can be hard to pin down.

If forced to define the groupthink that binds the members of this cabal, I would suggest it’s an adherence to the ideology of identity politics – the idea that disadvantaged minority groups (more of which seem to emerge with every passing month) have needs, grievances and interests that, when push comes to shove, supersede those of the majority.

Identity politics involves a relentless focus not on what unites us – in other words, the interests and values that all New Zealanders have in common (such as freedom, prosperity, peace and respect for the rule of law) – but on grievance and division. Proponents of identity politics see society as an aggregation of disadvantaged groups that must compete for power and influence against a privileged and hostile majority that’s indifferent to their needs. It’s a world view that arises largely out of Marxist theory but which, oddly enough, is not endorsed by all Marxists.

These aggrieved minorities may define themselves by their ethnicity, their gender, their religion, their disabilities or their sexual identity. The desire to protect these groups and promote their interests, even if it means over-riding the wishes of the majority, has become an all-consuming objective for the cabal that now dominates New Zealand politics.

We see this reflected in many of the political initiatives pursued by the Labour government since it was freed from the restraining influence of New Zealand First. Obvious examples include proposed hate speech laws (still conveniently vague), Maori co-governance proposals, taxpayer-funded government capture of the media, centralisation of power via radical new arrangements in health and local government (e.g. the Three Waters), indoctrination of school pupils through a distorted history curriculum, and the imposition of Maori place names and Maori terminology unfamiliar to most New Zealanders without any mandate.

Now, I know what some people will be thinking as they read this. They’ll be thinking: “Hang on, there have always been cabals in politics.” Which is true: in virtually every government, there’s a select group – sometimes known as the kitchen cabinet – which calls the shots.

But what sets the 2021-style cabal apart is the sheer scale of its influence. A homogeneity of thinking extends across virtually all the public institutions that influence New Zealand life. What debate there is mainly takes place on the margins – for example, on talkback radio (which the media elite regards with contempt), in social media and on blogs like this one, where dissenting opinion can be quarantined as if it were a contagious disease.

The dangers hardly need spelling out. A country where government policies largely go unchallenged by the institutions that normally hold politicians to account is a country that risks acquiescing in the face of an authoritarian state.

Two obvious examples are academia and the media. In liberal democracies, both institutions typically subject governments to close, and often harsh, critical scrutiny. But in New Zealand in 2021, academics and the media sing from the same song sheet as the people in power. Media outlets publish just enough dissenting opinion to avoid the accusation that they function as compliant government mouthpieces. Academics, apart from a tiny minority of courageous dissenters, serve as cheerleaders.

Some media go further, actively promoting narratives that favour the government; witness Newshub political editor Tova O’Brien’s sustained, malicious and deliberate undermining of Judith Collins. Contrast that with the same organisation’s very occasional (and mostly polite) reporting of government failures. O’Brien’s exposure of Kris Faafoi’s inability to explain his own hate speech proposals, and Michael Morrah’s valiant chronicling of the government’s failings and dissembling over Covid-19, stand out precisely because they contrast sharply with the deferential tone of most Newshub journalism, especially in relation to Jacinda Ardern.  

Some political journalists appear to compete for the prime minister’s favour, like school children begging for the teacher to notice their upraised arms. The penalty for asking awkward questions at Ardern’s “Pulpit of Truth” sessions is that the questioner is likely to be snubbed in future. It’s a more subtle form of control than that exercised by Robert Muldoon, who banned journalists he didn’t like, but just as effective. Small wonder that Barry Soper, the most experienced member of the press gallery, has exposed Ardern’s promise of transparency as a sham.  

We even see media outlets actively suppressing content for no better reason than that it’s ideologically unacceptable; witness the New Zealand Herald’s shameful refusal to publish an inoffensive advertisement for the feminist group Speak Up for Women, which has struggled to have its voice heard against a barrage of  rhetoric from the fiercely aggressive transgender lobby.

Once the guardians of free speech, the press has become complicit in the suppression of opinions that run counter to the tenets of identity politics. That media outlets like the Herald now align themselves with radical fringe groups such as transgender activists, who only a few years ago would have been regarded as deranged, demonstrates how out of touch they have become with the public they purport to serve.

But back to that cabal. For a micro-example of how it operates, and of the cosy symbiosis between government and the media, look no further than Newshub’s recent coverage of an Official Information Act release to blogger Cameron Slater relating to two of the cabal’s most feted figures, Ashley Bloomfield and Siouxsie Wiles.

On the BFD blog, Slater had called microbiologist and media darling Wiles a rank hypocrite after she appeared to breach Alert Level 4 rules – and contravene her own public advice not to go out and socialise – by sitting with a friend on an Auckland beach, in close proximity and both unmasked.

A delighted Newshub crowed that in an exchange of text messages released to Slater, Bloomfield (or as I prefer to call him, Dr Spin) told Wiles that “I don’t think that Cameron Slater has much cred these days”. The focus of the story was thus obligingly shifted from Wiles’ flouting of the lockdown rules – a matter of clear public interest – to the denigration of the right-wing blogger who potted her. It was the perfect illustration of how the cabal works to protect its members and turn its wrath on anyone who challenges it.

In this case the self-supporting mechanisms kicked in big-time. First, there was Bloomfield reassuring Wiles in a chummy, we’re-all-in-this-together spirit that she shouldn’t be too concerned about Slater, followed by the insipid bromide “Take care” and adding: “Keep up the great work and plenty of good people … will stand by you”. Then there was the sneering tone of the Newshub report, which implied that the only person tarnished by the affair was Slater himself. (After all, if the sainted Bloomfield pronounced that Slater had no cred, who could possibly argue otherwise?)

Others soon piled on. “Kiwis on social media thought the whole affair was hilarious”, Newshub reported – citing, as evidence, a sniggering, sub-literate tweet by Hayden Donnell from RNZ’s Mediawatch: “Imagine OIA’ing a government official’s comms all their texts are just about how much you suck.”

Let’s just consider that for a moment. Donnell is paid by the taxpayer to provide fair, measured, non-partisan analysis of the news media, and here he is (a) revealing himself as unable to string a few coherent words together, and (b) joining in a social media gang-up on a figure the cabal loathes because they can’t abide anyone holding political views different from their own.

I supposed we should be grateful to Donnell for confirming just how puerile and bigoted he is. We now know not to rely on anything he says about the media we pay him to comment on. In an ideal world he would be sacked because he has forfeited his credibility, but we know he won’t be. He can make comments like this with impunity because the cabal protects its own – in fact, applauds people for displaying bias, just as long as it’s the right type of bias.

The cabal’s influence, incidentally, reaches beyond New Zealand, and I’m not just talking about the Guardian, which is the cabal’s newspaper of choice. In a recent BBC World Service discussion, Newsroom political journalist Marc Daalder, after playing down a key failure in the Ardern government’s management of Covid-19 by saying the tardiness of the vaccination rollout was due to “supply constraints” (not true), then smeared the country by making the claim (also untrue) that the vaccination programme prioritised whites and left “marginalised” communities behind. “The government hasn’t always been the friend of Maori communities,” Daalder said, citing the smallpox (1913) and influenza (1918) epidemics as evidence of New Zealand’s supposed indifference to Maori suffering. (Neither could be compared with the current pandemic, but hey – let’s not get too picky.)

Daalder’s casual slander aligns with a commonly held view within the cabal that New Zealand is so irredeemably racist even Ardern’s enlightened leadership can’t fix it. Overseas listeners would have formed the impression that Maori had been denied vaccination opportunities as part of a deliberate strategy, when both Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare placed the blame squarely on Maori themselves for not coming forward despite government publicity campaigns targeted directly at them.

Distortion is just one of the weapons in the armoury of the cabal that controls the public conversation. Ridicule and scorn are others, as evidenced by Newshub’s report about Slater. The purpose is to intimidate dissenters into silence. And we’re paying for it, because the media elements of the cabal are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer through the Pravda Project, aka the Public Interest Journalism Fund. That’s the cabal’s master stroke.

Written by The Veteran

October 24, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

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with 4 comments

The eleventh hour grovelling apology by the Rt Hon Winston Peters to Harry Tan, Mongrel Mob kaumatua and Jacinda Ardern supplicant and booster, in order to avoid defamation action following the appearance of WRP on TV in which he claimed he had proof positive that Tan facilitated the visit to Northland by two sex workers later found to be Covid positive.

Another addition to the many ‘questionable’ statements made by Peters … remember the Cook Strait Ferry grounding; the Russian submarines mapping New Zealand waters; the Selwyn Cushing bribe that wasn’t (Cushing went on to to sue Peters for defamation and won); The Owen Glen affair … the list goes on.

Don’t feel any sorrow for the egg on face for those who raced to endorse Peters’ allegations against Tan, as evidence of Peters standing up for …. you fill in the missing bit.

Written by The Veteran

October 20, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

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with 4 comments

That I watch the increasingly bizarre performance of St Jacinda from the Podium of Truth. No matter that infection rates of Covid continue to rise (and of course no mention of inflation going thru the roof) … any questions (limited to Tova and Jessica) and they’re batted away with a smiley face and a focus on vaccination rates with an assurance that all will be well … better times are just around the corner.

One is reminded of the 5.00 pm media follies from the bunker at Tan Son Nhut airbase during the Vietnam war. All about the body count … the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong were out for the count … with St Westy in charge the war wuz won.

Only difference being that increasingly the media didn’t buy the narrative. They kept asking the difficult questions

Spot the diff ….

Written by The Veteran

October 18, 2021 at 7:36 pm


with 11 comments

With his Gold Medal performance of dancing on the head of a pin.

According to Hipkins the word ‘elimination’ which supposedly anchored his government’s Covid response was not to be taken in the dictionary sense … noun, the act of removing or getting rid of something … but rather some sort of aspirational goal which hasn’t quite worked out.

So on that score its Covid 1 vs Ardern Nil. No wonder the populace is becoming increasingly confused as Labour scrambles to redefine its strategy.

Bet Hipkins and Robertson are regretting their smart Alec gibe at National’s Covid Response Model when its clear that the country is heading towards a Covid Xmas with Labour in charge.

Written by The Veteran

October 15, 2021 at 2:50 pm


I see the nice Mr Gayford has gone full retard on Sir John Key accusing him of spreading misinformation (unspecified) about Covid. Cheap shot from cheap shotter who has an ‘interesting’ circle of acquaintances. In doing so he has broken the golden rule that spouses of politicians (and especially spouses of Prime Ministers) shy clear of making political statements.

Still, to be fair, and he is following suite of his Party in consigning the rule-book to door-stop status.

But in doing so he runs the risk of opening himself up to criticism … like does anyone really think he would have got the job fronting TV One’s latest foray into the house-moving reality show business if he wasn’t who he is. Still, I guess Ardern will be welcoming of a return from her investment into public broadcasting … she who pays the piper etc.

Written by The Veteran

October 13, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Baptists and Bootleggers, Bishops and Biker Gangs

Baptists and Bootleggers is a well known phrase created by an economist some decades ago that describes how two groups of people seemingly opposed to each other can actually end up supporting common goals.

For much of the 20th century, Baptists and other evangelical Christians were prominent in political activism for Sunday closing laws restricting the sale of alcohol. Bootleggers sold alcohol illegally, and got more business if legal sales were restricted

I think we’ve reached this stage with the Auckland (and now Waikato) lockdowns, following recent events with mass attendances at two funerals for Maori gang members, plus “Bishop” Brian Tamaki’s little protest at The Domain.

In both cases the Police did not make any arrests. The Vet has already had a post on how one gang member was allowed to self-isolate at home. Cactus Kate draws a broader conclusion in Covid Zero is Dead:

The Cops did absolutely NOTHING today. NOTHING. What does that tell you? Who runs the country? 

We do. The people.  

I’m picking the cops don’t think they joined the force to enforce Covid regulations.

They chatted to Brian pre protest, they knew he was doing this =  no arrests. None. They never stopped him leaving his home to break the law.

It’s like they are afraid of anyone Maori or from the Pacific Islands. But I think it’s broader than that. They don’t agree that they actually have to enforce this Covid rubbish now vaccinations are available to all.

The weekend saw an internal revolt. The Cops went to that protest, stood there and did nothing.  White middle class Karen’s were horrified.  What does that tell you?

Like Cactus I am not at all horrified by what the gangs and Tamaki have pulled off. Shoving your fingers up the noses of our stuffed-shirt politicians and bureaucrats should actually be a time-honoured activity, given what arrogant, entitled, amoral, ignorant, dumb and sometimes outright evil bastards they are.

I also liked her suggestion, although I don’t think the gangs are short of a bob or two:

Our new mates in the gangs are holding tangi and holding their middle finger to Ardern and her mates. They are the pioneers of showing this situation to be a sick joke. 

You cannot suspend rights and freedoms in the New Zealand Bill of Rights for an indefinite period. That’s never reasonable. No plan.  When is this ending? Ardern has said “the start of 2022”. That’s not fooling anyone. 

At this point I am quite happy to contribute to a gofundme for gangs that break these utterly stupid rules. Every single day.

Reminds me of a post I wrote in 2019, looking back at the GFC, The Penny Begins To Drop:

Brian and Ilsa — the nice upper-middle-class retired couple, who always follow the rules, and never ever break the law — who don’t even cheat on their golf scores — even when they’re playing alone (“Because if you cheat at golf, you’re only cheating yourself”) — have decided to give their bank the middle finger. They have essentially said, Fuckit.

“We follow the rules, and look where that’s gotten us?” she says, furious and depressed. “Nowhere. They run us around, like lab rats in a cage.”

But Ilsa is quietly, constantly insisting that they stop paying the mortgage altogether: “Everybody else is doing it—so why shouldn’t we?”

A terrible sentence, when a law-abiding citizen speaks it: Everybody else is doing it — so why don’t we?

Of course the alternative path is one laid out by Chris Trotter in his latest outburst about how yet another Giant Central Control and Command experiment has fucked up and the search is about to start for the Wreckers and Traitors who will stand before the Peoples Revolutionary Court:

… those The Daily Blog Editor Martyn Bradbury colourfully calls “Death-Cult Capitalists”.

But for those who see human existence as a pitiless struggle to determine the survival of the fittest; for those who see human-beings as means to an end, never as ends in themselves; for those who would let thousands die rather than see the strong restrained in any way; for these people there is only one word: Evil.

Chris is never the most coherent or consistent of commentators. Just a few days earlier he was looking across the Tasman at Melbourne in horror and saying this:

Stamping out Covid-19 by stomping on the heads of our fellow citizens? Is that really what New Zealand wants?

I made the point to him that:

I’m sure it will be what quite a few New Zealanders will want if they see case numbers (and perhaps even deaths) rise, despite vaccinations, as the country opens up. An Untermenchen will be required for such a failure.

The joke is that just a week later, Chris has now arrived at this point with his two most recent articles (Introducing Mr Stick.and Why Is Labour So Frightened Of “Mr Stick”? (plus his commentators)

Luckily for him “stomping” with “Mr Stick” won’t be needed to destroy people.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 10, 2021 at 9:40 am


In glorious technicolor. First question to Ardern from her ‘mate’ Tova at her 1.00 pm standup a patsy. Then followed on TV One’s 6.00 pm news the Party line from the ‘Podium of Truth’ with any mention of the response from National and ACT, covered off in TV3’s Newshub that Labour’s mismanagement of the Delta outbreak was all of their own doing and evidence that Ardern has lost control of the situation, carefully edited out.

$55m well spent.

Written by The Veteran

October 3, 2021 at 7:12 pm

Posted in NZ Politics